Main site sections:
Plants section links:


  • Safari Park

Bloom time (approximate):

  • Spring


Plants: Species

Poppy: California Poppy Eschscholzia californica


The cheerful sight of golden California poppies Eschscholzia californica nodding and waving in the breeze has greeted many hopeful immigrants to California. In an overwhelming landslide on December 12, 1890, the California State Floral Society voted to designate the California poppy as the state's official flower, and it has paved California's landscapes with gold ever since.

The cupped blossoms of the poppy's satiny petals can actually vary in color from pale yellow to deep orange and bronze. They close up into tight points by night, then unfurl to greet the morning sun. It is against state law to pick them, but you can grow them from seed in your own garden. Plant the seeds in well-draining, sandy soil and keep it moist until the seeds germinate. If the spent flowers are allowed to go to seed, they will self-sow, and you will have your own yearly growth of California's "living golden nuggets."

Our state flower is more aggressive than it looks, producing toxic alkaloids that disrupt the nervous system of poppy-eating insects.